On June 3, 2019, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) issued proposed regulations to the 2017 Radburn Law. These proposed regulations are just suggestions for regulations and none of them have been approved.
The public is entitled to comment on them through August 2, 2019. Agency regulations are rules that are meant to carry out or implement legislation and are created and enforced by a regulatory agency. So these regulations should help to implement the Radburn Law. If you thought the proposed regulations might provide some clarity to confusing portions of the Radburn Law, you would be wrong. Instead, these proposed regulations create even more obligations for community associations than are required by the Radburn Law. Following are just a few of the proposed regulations which, if approved, would create significant changes for community associations:
- Public tallying of ballots. Proposed regulation 5:26-8.9(h) would require that tallying of ballots be done publicly.
- Anonymous ballots required. Proposed regulation 5:26-8.9(h) would require that all ballots be cast in an anonymous manner.
- Electronic voting limitations. Proposed regulation 5:26-8.9(h) would only permit electronic voting if it was administered by a neutral third party and anonymity is maintained.
- Notice to members not in good standing. Proposed regulation 5:26-8.9(l) would require the association to notify members who are not in good standing at least 30 days before the election and state that the member may dispute this determination by requesting ADR.
- Write in candidates required. Proposed regulation 5:26-8.9(l) would require an association to permit write in candidates on the day of the election. The ballot would have to include as many spaces for write-in candidates as there are seats up for election.
- Increased notice for board meetings. Proposed regulation 5:26-8.12(b) would require that adequate notice of at least 7 days prior to a meeting shall be given to members.
- Closed board meeting votes ratified at open board meeting. Proposed regulation 5:26-8.12(e) would require that votes taken at a closed board meeting would not be binding. Instead, the binding vote must be taken at the open meeting without disclosing any confidences.
- Recordings of board meetings, if any, must be made available to members. Proposed regulation 5:26-8.12(f) would require that if a meeting is recorded electronically, members shall have access to the electronic recording and may make a copy of it.
- Board members and associations are subject to fines. Proposed regulation 5:26-8.14(e) would permit the DCA to impose fines against board members and associations for violations of these regulations which could be substantial.
There are many more proposed regulations but the above are likely to impact community associations greatly. You can see the full text of the proposed regulations here. Remember, these regulations are proposed and are not yet approved. If you oppose any or all of these regulations, you may submit written comments by August 2, 2019 to:
Department of Community Affairs
P.O. Box 800
Trenton, NJ 08625
If you have any questions or concerns about these proposed regulations or the Radburn Law itself, please contact Mary W. Barrett.